On the Planned Environment and Neighbourhood Life: Evidence from Mixed-Tenure Housing Developments Twenty Years On

By Casey, Rionach; Coward, Sarah et al. | The Town Planning Review, May 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

On the Planned Environment and Neighbourhood Life: Evidence from Mixed-Tenure Housing Developments Twenty Years On


Casey, Rionach, Coward, Sarah, Allen, Chris, Powell, Ryan, The Town Planning Review


This paper examines the extent to which the planned environment can help create and sustain socially mixed communities. It reports on research into three planned mixed tenure neighbourhoods twenty years following their development. It focuses on the lives of renters and owner-occupiers, their use of the local area and their social interactions. Although owner-occupiers and to a lesser extent renters are shown to lead 'mobile lifestyles', which involves spending a considerable amount of time away from the case study neighbourhoods, the quality of the planned environment and local facilities were nonetheless found to be an important feature of residents' lives. The use of local facilities within a well-planned local environment is shown to facilitate social interaction between owners and renters, which was a source of widespread satisfaction across tenures.

The idea of social mix within a planned urban context is not new (Sarkassian, 1976; Madanipour, 1992). From the new towns of the 1960s to contemporary 'new urbanism' planners have suggested that social interaction is more likely in well-designed, pedestrian friendly neighbourhoods with a wide range of public services and facilities (Mann, 1958; Foley, 1960; Kulash, 2000). Social mix and the social interaction that may arise from having a mixed-tenure profile are widely regarded as having positive benefits for sustaining communities over time. This is because socially mixed communities are thought to be more cohesive, and avoid the worst extremes of social exclusion that may prevail in deprived neighbourhoods. However, while the 'socially balanced' neighbourhood has gained currency both in the USA and in Britain there is a distinct lack of empirical evidence upon which to make an assessment of the relationship between these planned environments and social mix. Hence, the principal purpose of this paper is to assess whether good urban design in the form of neighbourhood units can enable social interaction between tenure groups. To do so, we examine the contribution of the planned environment to social mix within the context of planned mixed-tenure housing developments built in the 1970s in Britain. The key research questions addressed are: 'does the planned environment facilitate use of the local area', and, if so, 'does it enable social interaction1 in these areas'?

This paper first outlines the broad planning principles of 'social balance' that underpinned the design of British new towns and other housing developments in the 1960s and 1970s. Their influence on the more contemporary planning context of urban villages and new urbanism as well as on government planning guidelines is outlined. We then set out the rationale for the research into planned mixed-tenure housing developments and delineate the three case-study areas. After laying this groundwork the remainder of the paper presents an assessment of the role of the planned environment in neighbourhood life in these areas. To this end we examine the lifestyles of local residents both within and outside of the local area and their use of local facilities. Having analysed their use of the local area we further examine the extent to which the planned environment contributes to, and facilitates, social contact. We conclude that mixed-tenure housing developed within a carefully planned layout and provision of high-quality neighbourhood facilities remains relevant in facilitating social interaction and underpinning resident satisfaction.

Urban design and social mix

The concept of social mix within planned neighbourhoods is not new and has a long lineage in British urban design (Foley, 1960; Popenoe, 1973; Aldous, 1995). One of the earliest examples of a planned community, Bournville was built in 1879, to house the working classes and also to create, 'as far as possible a mixed community [applied to] income and social class' (Sarkassian, 1976, 235). This development has been widely cited as a precursor of the Garden City Movement and modern British New Towns (Eversley, 1973). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

On the Planned Environment and Neighbourhood Life: Evidence from Mixed-Tenure Housing Developments Twenty Years On
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.